Noticing that nearly half the independently made films it presented last year were helmed by women, the Atlanta Film Festival has revealed its first titles for its 2015 fest, all by female directors.
While an announcement of the prestige opening night films for the March 20-29 fest will come later, this first announcement is kind of a sneak-peek at what’s to come in the 39th annual event. Highlights include:
- “Breathe” (“Respire”), a French drama from director and actress Mélanie Laurent (“Inglourious Basterds”) that played the Cannes and Toronto International film festivals this year. It charts an obsessive, and ultimately destructive, friendship between two teenage girls. Variety’s review called the film a “modest but acutely observed and affecting adolescent portrait” and said Laurent “brings a sure, sensitive hand to tonally tricky material” and draws strong performances from relative newcomers Josephine Japy and Lou De Laage.
- “Sound of Redemption: The Frank Morgan Story,” a documentary from N.C. Heikin about the troubled life and redemption of the late Los Angeles jazz star. Acclaimed as an heir to mentor Charlie Parker, saxophone ace Morgan had his career and life derail when heroin addiction led him into a life of crime. Then, after three decades of prison stints, he mounted a remarkable comeback.
- Three Georgia-produced films: “Female Pervert,” a comedy from Jiyoung Lee; “Imba Means Sing,” Danielle Bernstein’s documentary (produced by former CNN writer-producer Erin Bernhardt) following African Children’s Choir singers from Uganda on a transformative world tour; and Danielle Beverly’s “Old South,” a documentary exploring racial tensions in Athens after a white University of Georgia fraternity moves into a traditionally black neighborhood.
- Also announced this week: Vania Leturcq’s French female friendship drama “Next Year” (“L’année Prochaine”); Nathalie Cools’ Belgium-filmed “Trans: A Documentary About Transboys”; Jennifer Harlow’s directorial debut “The Sideways Light,” a mystery; Jennifer Prediger and Jess Weixler’s “Apartment Troubles,” a female buddy comedy in which the directors also wrote and star; and Caryn Waechter’s “The Sisterhood of Night,” based on Pulitzer Prize-winning Steven Millhauser’s short story about a New York high school girl secret society.
“The fact that such an exceptional and diverse crop all come from female directors is a testament to how much the independent film industry is shifting and evolving for the better,” Atlanta Film Festival Director of Programming Kristy Breneman said. “We just hope one day Hollywood takes note.”
More details: atlantafilmfestival.com.